Match report: Rangers 2-2 Celtic
Scottish Premiership: “Here we had the rarest of Old Firm outcomes, where both teams could emerge with contentment,” writes Ewan Murray from Ibrox.
Here’s Ewan Murray’s match report from Ibrox:
Ange Postecoglu: “I thought it was a cracking game for everyone,” says the Celtic manager. “All eyes are on this game, not just in Scotland but everywhere in the world. Both teams were at it today, it was a real proper derby and a cracking game.
“We started really well and then lost control, mainly because of our passing. We were making errors in our passing that we don’t normally do and it allowed them to get back into it. They got a bit of momentum, the crowd got behind them and at the beginning of the second half they took a foothold for 15 or 20 minutes. We could have resigned ourselves to our fate but we haven’t done that.”
Michael Beale: “The two goals were poor ones to give for us,” the Rangers manager tells Sky Sports. “We actually started the game quite well and then gave away a goal. It took us 10 or 15 minutes to find ourselves again. I thought we did and I didn’t really want the half-time whistle. We had two big chances with Alfredo from headers, Ryan Kent hits the post and you’re thinking at half-time that we need to show a bit more belief. I didn’t think there was much in the game other than that.
“At the start of the second half we showed that. We got ourselves 2-1 in front and we’re in control of the game. They’ve not been near Allan [McGregor], we’ve had a big chance to go 3-1 in front with Malik [Tillman] but we don’t take it and then the second goal they’ve scored was really poor from us. We’ve sat deep and had three or four chances to clear the ball. So I’m disappointed but I saw a lot of good things today.”
Callum McGregor: “It’s a good point, considering,” says Celtic captain Callum McGregor in an interview swith Sky Sports. “We started the game really well, silenced the crowd and it was just a bit of slackness that crept in to the game. We expected to maximise on our good start but we didn’t. Credit to the lads who showed great character. At 2-1 down here with six or seven minutes to go and you get yourself a draw, we’ll take that. It’s a big result and we’ll take it. We weren’t at our best so we’ll definitely take it.”
A quick recap: Celtic dominated the first half after Daizen Maeda pounced on an Alfredo Morelos error to score an early opener for the visitors. Celtic maintained their lead until half-time, despite Morelos missing a couple of excellent chances and Ryan Kent having as shot saved on to the post.
Within seven minutes of the restart, Rangers found themselves in the lead, equalising through Ryan Kent before James Tavernier fired them in front with a splendidly taken spot-kick awarded for a Karl Starfelt foul on Fashion Sakala. Despite their best attempts to maintain their lead, Rangers came unstuck with just four minutes of normal time remaining. It was Kyogo Furahashi who silenced a raucous Ibrox when he fired home from seven yards after being teed up by Giorgos Giakoumakis.
Full time: Rangers 2-2 Celtic
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeep! It’s all over at Ibrox, where the points have been shared. Celtic’s late equaliser means they maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the table, although such is the superiority of their goal difference that the gap might as well be 10 points.
90+6 min: Cameron Carter-Vicker somehow wins a free-kick just outside his own penalty area despite hanging out of Scott Wright’s shirt as the Rangers substitute tried to get away from him.
90+ 4min: Now Ryan Jack is booked for fouling Jota as the Celtic forward advanced upfield. Jota stayed on his feet and the ref played advantage, only producing the card when the Portuguese sub ran into traffic.
90+3 min: Callum McGregor is booked for a foul on Sands, taking one for the team as the Rangers substitute threatened to break upfield. That’s the first yellow card of the game.
90+1 min: Rangers will be furious at conceding what was a very scrappy equaliser. Celtic had the ball in their penalty area and the hosts had a couple of chances to clear before it eventually found it’s way into the path of Kyogo.
89 min: Connor Goldson is forced to make what looks a crucial saving tackle as Celtic break upfield. It wasn’t crucial after all, as the flag goes up. Eventually.
GOAL! Rangers 2-2 Celtic (Kyogo 88)
Celtic equalise and Ibrox is silenced! Kyogo rifles home with a rising drive from seven yards after being teed up in a crowded Rangers penalty area by Giorgo Giakoumakis.
87 min: Joe Hart is forced out of his penalty area to hack the ball clear under pressure from Fashion Sakala, who has been outstanding for Rangers in this second half. He’s caused Celtic all sorts of problems.
86 min: Rangers substitution: James Sands on, Malik Tillman off.
84 min: Malik Tillman runs on to a pass from Ryan Jack and advances down the inside left. With the Celtic goal hoving into view, he leaves it too long to shoot and allows Cameron Carter-Vickers to slide in and block superbly.
82 min: Now playing with a bloodstained cotton wool swab stuck up one nostril, James Tavernier takes a throw-in for Rangers, who are working hard to protect their one-goal lead. If they can close out the game, the gap between themselves and Celtic will be reduced to six points.
80 min: Allan McGregor is quick off his line to claim a through ball that Giorgos Giakoumakis had no chance of chasing down despite his best attempts.
78 min: Rangers substitution: Scott Wright on for Alfredo Morelos, who gets a warm round of applause from the home fans despite not being anywhere near his sharpest today.
77 min: Celtic double-substitution: Jota and Giorgos Giakoumakis on for Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda.
76 min: There’s a break in play as Tavernier receives treatment for a bloody nose.
75 min: James Tavernier goes down after shipping a bang on the head while contesting a high ball with Maeda near his own goal.
74 min: Rangers substitution: Ryan Jack on for John Lundstram.
72 min: Sakala beats Starfelt for pace down the inside right but eschews the opportunity to shoot with his right foot in favour of cutting inside and on to his left. When he does eventually pull the trigger, his effort is blocked.
70 min: Mooy crosses from the right to Hatate, whose shot is blocked by Goldson’s arm, which was down by his side. The ball eventually goes out for a corner from which Rangers break upfield. Alistair Johnston does superbly well to get back and put a stop to the speedy Fashion Sakala’s gallop up the right touchline.
67 min: Interestingly, referee John Beaton didn’t go to his pitchside monitor to check that possible Goldson handball but just took his video assistant refereee’s word for it. A question: who exactly is refereeing this match?
63 min: Abada cuts inside from the right and sends a cross towards the far post. The ball’s headed out for a Celtic corner, from which they win another. Aaron Mooy’s delivery is good and the ball is pinged around the Rangers penalty area. Starfelt tries his luck with a wild swing and the ball appears to hit the hand of Connor Goldson. The ref doesn’t award a spot-kick but submits to a VAR check. No penalty.
60 min: Celtic double-substitution: Liel Abada and Aaron Mooy on for James Forrest and Matt O’Riley.
59 min: Rangers corner. Barisic troops across to take it. His delivery is excellent, sent in with plenty of zip. Celtic clear.
57 min: Ibrox is absolutely rocking on the back of this early second half collapse from Celtic. For the visitors, Matate wriggles into space down by the byline and drills the ball across the face of goal. It rolls behind Maeda and there’s nobody else on hand to steer it home.
55 min: Josip Juranovic: an apology. It was not in fact the Croatian who brought down Fashion Sakala for the penalty. Carl Starfelt was the villain of the piece.
GOAL! Rangers 2-1 Celtic (Tavernier 53pen)
Rangers lead! James Tavernier takes a splendid penalty, rifling the ball into the top left-hand corner. It’s a perfect spot-kick and Joe Hart had no chance of getting near it. What a turnaround!!!
PENALTY FOR RANGERS!!!
Juranovic is the villain again, sliding in to foul Sakala on the right side of the Celtic penalty area. It’s a daft challenge and referee John Beaton doesn’t hesitate in awarding a penalty.
51 min: Fashion Sakala shoots high over the bar from inside the Celtic penalty area. He should have done better.
49 min: Josip Juranovic was hopelessly out of position as Fashion Sakala took down the ball and picked out Kent with a low pass across the Celtic penalty area. Kent was in acres of space and had plenty of room to cut inside and pull the trigger.
GOAL! Rangers 1-1 Celtic (Kent 47)
Rangers equalise! Ryan Kent receives a pass on the left side of the Celtic penalty area, cuts inside Josip Juranovic and unleashes a shot into the far corner. Joe Hart couldn’t and didn’t get near it.
47 min: Alastair Johnston fouls Glen Kamara to concede a free-kick just insde the Rangers half, out by the left touchline.
Second half: Rangers 0-1 Celtic
46 min: The game resumes with Celtic on the ball. Their are no more changes in personnel on either side, although Celtic did lose Greg Taylor to a hamstring injury in the first half.
Alistair Johnston: Celtic’s Canadian debutant has looked to the manor born on his baptism of fire in the green and white hoops. In truth, Rangers have posed him few problems as they’ve been unable to get in behind the Celtic defence. Their scoring opportunities have come from corners or on the back of Celtic errors. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Joe Hart have both given their supporters palpitations by giving the ball away cheaply in dangerous positions.
Half-time: Rangers 0-1 Celtic
Peep! Referee John Beaton brings the first half to a close and Celtic’s players adjourn to their dressing-room with a one-goal lead courtesy of Daizen Maeda’s early strike. The goal was gifted to them by Rangers, who have forged a few chances of their own. Ryan Kent had a shot saved on to the post by Joe Hart, while Alfredo Morelos has also missed a couple of sitters. Celtic have been the better team, however, and are well worth their lead.
45+1 min: Rangers corner. The ball is delivered to the back post, where Alfredo Morelos shoves Juranovic in the back, gets a free-header and somehow sends it wide from six yards. He should have scored but had he dones so, his effort might well have been ruled out.
45 min: Celtic clear consecutive crosses from each flank from their penalty area. Carter-Vickers does the honours on both occasions, heading away deliveries from Barisic and then Tavernier.
44 min: Another effort for Morelos, who robs Cameron Carter-Vickers of the ball on the edge of the Celtic penalty area. He tries to curl a shot into the top corner but his effort goes high and wide.
43 min: Alfredo Morelos gives Juranovic the slip and leaps to head a cross goalwards. It’s a wonderful chance for him to equalise for Rangers but his effort sails over the bar.
41 min: Forrest drills another low across into the Rangers penalty area. The ball rolls into the path of Kyogo, who looks certain to score. He swings his boot and completely misses the ball! It rolls on to Maeda, who shoots hurriedly over the bar when he had time to take a touch and settle himself.
39 min: Barisic slides in to dispossess James Forrest on the right flank, putting the ball out for a Celtic throw-in deep in Rangers territory. Alistair Johnston chucks the ball to Matt O’Riley, who turns inside Tavernier and gets a cross away.
38 min: Reo Hatate has a shot on the turn from the edge of the Rangers penalty area blocked by John Lundstram.
36 min: McGregor is forced off his line to leap and grab the ball under pressure from Kyogo as Celtic get the ball into the Rangers penalty area again.
34 min: Alfredo Morelos does well to win a corner for his team. Barisic’s inswinging delivery is decent on this occasion but Joe Hart is quick off his line to punch clear under a challenge from Malik Tillman.
32 min: Rangers have finally grown into the game after a dreadful start and have dominated the past few minutes. The quality of their deliveries into the Celtic penalty area is leaving a lot to be desired and Borna Barisic is the main culprit. Too many of his crosses are going too near Hart.
31 min: Yep, replays show Joe Hart pulled off a good save there to make up for his moment of madness a few seconds previously. He needlessly dawdled over a clearance and allowed Alfredo Morelos to close him down.
28 min: Joe Hart tries to clear a bouncing ball with Alfredo Morelos right in front of him, blocking his way. The ball ricochets off the striker and bounces on the byline. Morelos does well to play it back to Sakala, who tees up Ryan Kent. From just outside the Celtic penalty area, he hits the post with a low daisy-cutter. I think Joe Hart might have touched it on to the woodwork.
26 min: Alistair Johnston plays the ball wide to Craig Forrest on the right flank. His pull-back to the edge of the Rangers penalty area is intercepted. Celtic are giving Rangers the runaround here, moving the game from side to side of the pitch and attacking down both wings.
24 min: Greg Taylor has pulled a hamstring, hence his departure. He got little or no sympathy from the Rangers fans, who seemed to think he was time-wasting and jeered accordingly as he received treatment.
23 min: Maeda accelerates down the inside left, leaves James Tavernier in his dust again and drills another low cross into the Rangers penalty area. Connor Goldson intercepts the delivery and Rangers clear.
21 min: Celtic substitution: Josip Juranovic on for Greg Taylor. As the defender limps off, a pitchside microphone picks up the sound of somebody loudly bidding him farewell in a thick Glaswegian accent. “There ye go, Taylor, ye scumbag!!!”
18 min: Kyogo Furuhashi latches on to a ball from deep out by the left touchline but is unable to keep it in play. Celtic left-back Greg Taylor, who has just received treatment for an injury, has gone to ground again. It looks like he’ll have to go off.
17 min: Barisic tries to stand the ball up for the far post after it breaks his way. It’s too high for Sakala, who leaps in tandem with Greg Taylor. Barisic probably should have tried a shot there.
15 min: The home fans are already furious and vent their fury at Borna Barisic as the left-back completely underhits a simple, short pass and loses the ball halfway inside his own half. He gets away with it.
14 min: Calllum McGregor unleashes a low drive from distance which Allan McGregor turns around his upright for a corner. Nothing comes of the set-piece.
13 min: Connor Goldson receives a pass from Allan McGregor and under a high press from Maeda, passes the ball out of play for a Celtic throw-in deep in Rangers territory. The Japanese striker is playing exceptionally well in these early stages.
11 min: Celtic have the early lead but the match has yet to settle into any kind of rhythm. Fashion Sakala lofts a hopeful ball forward but Celtic clear up at the back with a minimum of fuss.
9 min: Maeda tries to turn provider, sending a low cross from the left fizzing through the corridor of uncertainty on the edge of the Rangers six-yard box towards the far post. Allan McGregor is unable to reach out but luckily for him, neither his Celtic namesake Callum.
7 min: It’s an awful start for Rangers, who concede a preposterously sloppy goal. Both Morelos and Tavernier were culpable. Having been stitched up by his team-mate’s dreadful pass, both he and Connor Goldson allowed Maeda to dribble past them before shooting on goal.
GOAL! Rangers 0-1 Celtic (Maeda 5)
Celtic lead! Alfredo Morelos sells James Tavernier short with a blind, under-hit pass and Daizen Maeda pounces. Through on goal with only Allan McGregor to beat, he sidefoots low past the goalkeeper to fire Celtic into an early lead.
4 min: Play is punctuated by a series of throw-ins which slow down the frantic early pace of the game. Oh, hold on …
2 min: Borna Barisic floats a free-kick from halfway inside the Celtic half to the edge of the penalty area. The visitors clear. It’s been a predictably lively start.
1 min: John Lundstram goes down holding his knee after Matt O’Riley leaves one in on the Rangers midfielder as he cleared a ball downfield. He’s fine.
Rangers v Coeltic is go ...
1 min: Rangers get the ball rolling on derby day in Glasgow and immediately go on the attack. Ryan Kent gets an early shot away from distance but Joe Hart saves comfortably.
Not long now: The players of Rangers leave their visitors waiting a couple of minutes in the tunnel before emerging from their dressing-room. Both teams assembled, James Tavernier and Callum McGregor lead their respective teams out at the signal of referee Jon Beaton. Tina Turner’s Simply The Best blares out over the PA System and Ibrox is stuffed to the gunnels, with a small crowd of Celtic fans occupying one corner of the ground. Ahead of kick-off, there’s a minute’s silence for the victims of the 1971 Ibrox disaster. It’s well enough observed, but a handful of idiots barrack their way through it.
Ange Postegolou speaks: “We’ve just got to maintain our focus on playing our football,” the Celtic manager tells Sky Sports, after paying solemn tribute to Frank McGarvey and offering his condolences to the former Celtic striker’s family. “Obviously it’s a big game, everyone knows that … a difficult venue and a tough opponent. There’s no better opportunity to test ourselves.
“You can already see changes that [Michael Beale] has made to Celtic. He has the same personnel so he’s limited with what he can do in that regard. It still comes down to us today.”
Michael Beale speaks: “It’s over to the players now,” says the Rangers manager in an interview with Sky Sports. “I feel they’re prepared. Coming in over a month ago there was a lot of uncertainty over injuries and players like that. We seem to have everyone back and available. We’ve got here as best as we could so now it’s over to the players and I’m looking forward to watching the game.
“We have to play on the front foot and we’ve picked an attacking team to do that. We’ve obviously picked Malik [Tillman] and Fashion [Sakala] to do that. We’ve not gone for one or the other because we want to go for the three points. It’s a derby and I want to focus on that rather than any background story over where it takes the league. The most important thing is that we perform for our fans because in the game earlier in the season we didn’t and that’s a big regret for us.”
A day of remembrance at Ibrox
Ahead of kick-off there will be a minute’s silence to remember the 66 victims of the Ibrox disaster which took place on this day in 1971. There will also be tributes to the late Pele, as well as the Celtic legend Frank McGarvey, who passed away yesterday.
Those teams: Alistair Johnston starts for Celtic after his move to the club last month was ratified by the opening of the transfer window. His fellow right-back Josip Juranovic starts on the bench. Midfielder Aaron Mooy makes way for James Forrest and Liel Abada, who scored twice against Rangers in September is a somewhat surprising omission from Celtic’s starting line-up. He has to settle for a place on the bench.
Rangers boss Mick Beale also makes two changes from the side that beat MOtherwell last Wednesday. Glen Kamara and Fashionm Sakala come into midfield in place of Alex Lowry and Ryan Jack. Alfredo Morelos starts up front, while Antonio Colak is on the bench.
Rangers v Celtic line-ups
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Davies, Barisic, Kamara, Lundstram, Tillman, Kent, Sakala, Morelos.
Subs: McLaughlin, Jack, Colak, Sands, Wright, Roofe, Arfield, King, Devine.
Celtic: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley, Forrest, Maeda, Kyogo.
Subs: Bain, Giakoumakis, Abada, Mooy, Jota, Kobayashi, Bernabei, Abildgaard, Juranovic.
Referee: John Beaton
Early team news
Rangers defenders John Souttar and Filip Helander remain long-term absentees, while midfielders Steven Davis and Ianis Hagi are also sidelined indefinitely. Up front, Alfredo Morelos is likely to be fit despite limping out of his side’s recent win over Motherwell with a hamstring problem, but may make way for Antonio Kolak, who is back from injury. Kemar Roofe is also returning to full fitness and may feature on the bench.
In the absence of right-back Andrew Ralston, who is injured, Canada international Alistair Johnston is likely to make his Celtic debut after signing from Montreal Imp, but the Hoops are without suspended midfielder David Turnball and injured winger Sead Haksabanovic.
VAR: Introduced to the Scottish Premiership in October to help referees make fewer errors and hopefully put an end to the often ridiculous conspiracy theories cooked up by more paranoid fans of Scotland’s two biggest teams, it should go without sayimng that Video Assistant Referees have done nothing of the kind. Indeed, if anything, they have only poured more petrol on the conspiratorial fires.
For all the good it will do, ahead of today’s game, Ange Postecoglou has called on the match officials to ensure VAR delays do not disrupt the marquee fixture. Ewan Murray reports …
Scottish Premiership: Rangers v Celtic
With Celtic already nine points clear in the race to the ottish title, Rangers are in desperate need of a win in the first Old Firm match-up of the new year. The two sides meet at Ibrox this afternoon, with Michael Beale taking charge of Rangers in his first Glasgow derby after masterminding four wins from four since taking charge a month ago.
They will need a far better performance than September’s feeble effort at Celtic Park, when Ange Postecoglou’s side ran riot, battering their visitors by four goals without reply. Celtic go into today’s game on the back of 12 consecutive league wins and have dropped just three points this season, the only blot on their copybook a 2-0 defeat at St Mirren in September. Another victory today will surely end to any faint hopes their city rivals might have of reeling them in. Kick-off at Ibrox is at 12.30pm but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.